When style meets substance: the most unexpected car collaborations

Sony Vision S cars at CES 2022

Nicola Dowse

Posted March 11, 2022

From fashion designers to tech giants, some car manufacturers have teamed up with external brands to produce some stunning and strange vehicles.

Cars have been a part of our society for well over a century now, during which they’ve become a ubiquitous part of our lives. Some cars, however, have managed to turn heads more than others – for the better or worse.

Whether some brands were trending at the time, specialist knowledge was leveraged, or the carmaker’s design team was low on inspiration, car makers have gone outside of their own company for inspiration.

Some of the world’s biggest automotive manufacturers have collaborated with external brands to produce vehicles that have been luxurious, innovative, and in some cases, just plain whacky.

Here are some of the world’s most unexpected and unusual car collaborations.

Strange and spectacular car collaborations 

Honda and Sony 

Sony – the high-tech electronics corporation, has teamed up with the Japanese giant Honda to produce a line of electric vehicles due to hit dealerships as early as 2025.  

On March 4, 2022, Sony and Honda announced they had signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a new company dedicated to producing battery electric vehicles, with the agreement to be formalised by the end of the same year.  

It’s not the first time Sony has ventured into electric car production, having previously created two electric concept vehicles (the Vision-S 01 and Vision-S 02) in 2020 and early 2022.  

The unnamed new company from Sony and Honda will plan, design, develop, and sell the range of electric vehicles. However, Honda will manufacture the cars in its existing factories.  

The announcement was made on the same day that Sony also released the highly-anticipated racing game, Gran Turismo 7, exclusively on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.  

Sony Vision S 02

The Sony Vision S 02.

Citroën and Rip Curl

Victorian surf brand Rip Curl partnered with French car maker Citroën in 2018 to release the C4 Picasso Rip Curl, a vehicle that draws on both companies’ shared vision for adventure and relaxation.

The limited-edition car is aimed at drivers looking for a user-friendly car that also provides more style and character than your average family vehicle.

The C4 Picasso Rip Curl comes in five coastal-inspired colours (Soft Sand, Lazuli Blue, Cumulus Grey, Platinum Grey and Polar White), with the option for a two-tone roof. 

Rip Curl furnishings continue inside the C4, with branded, grey-striped seats that draw from the surf wear company’s distinct aesthetic.  

Citroën and Rip Curl have a history of collaborating, having previously produced the C4 Cactus and SpaceTourer vehicles together.  


Citroen C4 Picasso Rip Curl with a family getting ready to hop in the car

The Citroën C4 Picasso Rip Curl. Image: William Crozes

Jeep and Levi’s 

If you live, breathe and dream denim, Jeep has the car for you.  

In the 1970s, a line of Jeeps was released in collaboration with Levi’s that came complete with interior vinyl upholstery designed to imitate the famous denim jeans. 

So dedicated was Levi’s to this project, the blue denim seats even featured the copper rivets and iconic Levi’s tag that made the designer jeans so identifiable.  

The novelty interior came standard on the Jeep Renegade and as an optional add-on for the standard Jeep CJ/5 at the time. Both models were available in either a blue or orange finish.  

Jeep and Levi's additionally collaborated on the 1978 Jeep Cherokee Chief, which also had the option of a denim-inspired interior.

The 1978 Jeep Cherokee Levi's Edition parked on a green lawn next to trees and a yellow building

The 1978 Jeep Cherokee Levi's edition. 

Renault and L’Oréal 

Renault debuted an eco-friendly car at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show that was both good for the environment and good for your skin.  

The Renault Zoe ZE was a concept vehicle developed hand-in-hand with cosmetics monolith (and fellow French company) L’Oréal that pushed the boundaries of what a car could be.   

The electric car sported a sleek, space-age body that featured a transparent roof and solar panels (that ran the air-conditioning system) plus gull-wing doors.  

Using a 71-kilowatt electric motor, the car could reach speeds of 145 kilometres per hour, with a range of roughly 160km. While a modern electric vehicle, like Kia’s EV6, have ranges exceeding 500km, 160km for it’s time was considered quite impressive. 

The real evidence of the L’Oréal collaboration was seen in the climate control system, which could infuse the cabin air with essential oils to rehydrate your skin and neutralise bad odours.


The Renault Zoe ZE driving around a sharp corner on an urban road

The Renault Zoe ZE concept vehicle.

Hyundai and Prada

In 2011, Hyundai decided to team up with premium Italian fashion house Prada to release the Hyundai Genesis Prada.

This luxury sedan was initially only available in Hyundai’s home country of South Korea (it was later released to other markets such as the Middle East and China) and retailed at launch for a cool ₩79 million– approximately $88,000 Australian dollars by today’s currency value.

For that price, the car comes in an exclusive colour (your choice of either Brown Moro, Blue Baltico or Black Nero) and sports Prada’s signature Saffiano leather on its interior upholstery.  

The car also features a shark-fin antenna, special 19-inch alloy wheels and an in-built entertainment system for passengers in the rear seats.